Friday, June 4, 2010

You're Invited... to the Process!

I have thought a lot about what my goals as a dance maker are. The one that reigns supreme is to provide an opportunity for people to feel human through dance by engaging their senses, physically and/or emotionally, with the performance. 

Yet, I also think it is important that an audience be engaged with the dance making process. I feel like the post-moderns of the 1960s and 70s dedicated their early careers to coming up with myriads of ways to demystify dance. Some aimed to take American modern concert dance out of the realm of high art by stretching and redefining the boundaries of what a dance is. As a result we get into the development of improvisation for performance or ideas of presenting all modes of dance making to the audience (the learning, rehearsing, marking etc.). We get dances that are entirely pedestrian or gestural in movement style; those that are outside of the theater: site specific or with the audience in the round...

Despite 50 years of demystification efforts of process and performance, on the whole I'd argue general American audiences still do not know how to - or are afraid to - engage with modern dance. So often I ask or provide forums for people to comment upon the work they are seeing and... *crickets*

Is it because people don't actually have the vocabulary to speak about dance? Or they assume that they don't have anything to contribute? I am convinced that we all have the vocabulary to comment upon the structure and content of dance, even if we aren't connoisseurs. We all know EXACTLY how we feel after we see a dance. We know if we liked it or not; if we were feeling it and engaged, or bored to sleep. And we know exactly why or why not. Everyone's a critic. Everyone.

As a dance maker, an outside eye can be critical to help shape and solidify my ideas. So now more than ever, especially without the built-in feedback structure of school, forums to see and discuss work in progress is imperative to me. Moreover, while I might conceive of the initial idea for a work, the way I see it, it's a community process to bring a dance to fruition -- don't you want to have a hand in shaping art?

If you are reading this, I challenge you to participate in the dance making process. (Mine in particular, but hopefully others too!) I am often posting videos on twitter (follow me: @sydmosley), my facebook fan page (be a fan! Sydnie L. Mosley Dances), and this blog. I am always open for discussion, and always have ears open for feedback. If you are interested in seeing past video footage (both of my choreography and dancing) CLICK HERE.

Consider yourself INVITED! Don't be a stranger. Your opinions are welcome here.

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